Building and Playing for a Hands On Summer

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Raising a daughter in the 21st century is like nothing I could have ever imagined. The thought of a first-grader having access to a computer in the palm of her hand and being able to use said computer to navigate the world wide web without any assistance from an adult was unfathomable years ago. Now, our children are technically savvy. They’re coding in grade school (Ayva received a certificate for her participation in “A Day of Code” earlier this year), and it’s just assumed that they know how to use any smartphone, tablet, or computer that’s put in front of them. It’s a really cool time to be a kid, but as a parent, I have to wonder if our kids are losing something important by focusing so much on all things digital. If they’re able to find answers to any question they ever have, will they lose their ability to discover solutions on their own?

Children need to have creative and critical thinking skills. They need to be flexible, and have a chance to experience failure so that they can discover what they’re good at, and what they might need to work harder on. I know that Ayva’s school is doing an amazing job with shaping her, but Terrence and I are still responsible for exposing her experiences that will allow her to learn to discover how to create, as well as how to solve problems. He has a graduate degree in Education, and I worked for over a decade in arts education as a Teaching Artist and Curriculum Writer, so we feel pretty up for the challenge!

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Guess what, y’all? We are incredibly delighted to share that our family are blog ambassadors for Lakeshore Learning! As we work to develop Ayva’s 21st century skills, we’ll be sharing ideas and products over the next few months that will help you to support your child’s learning and growth, too! There will be giveaways, an in-store meet up for folks who are in in the area, and discounts (like this 20% off coupon that you can use right now)! With Ayva finishing up the first grade, we have enough elementary school under our belts to really be able to share a lot of great information and advice to other families with children who are around the same age. We’re here to help!

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Springtime and summer break are the perfect times for children to try new things and stretch skills. Terrence and I were having a conversation about what Ayva needed more of, and he said that hands on, design focused activities are the foundation for engineering and architecture, and could really help Ayva be prepared in math classes later on. The Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit by Lakeshore is super fun and fits the bill of hands on and design focused. Ayva opened up the kit and was able to build a nameplate all by herself just by following the instructions! She had never done anything like this before, but she was so proud of herself for figuring things out on her own. I only had to give her one rule…no hammering before 8 AM! Everything that she needs to complete several projects over the summer came with the kit including  a hammer, ruler, pencils, and wood glue.

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We also ordered a Watch It Grow Window Greenhouse so that she could track the daily growth of a plant, and Rainbow Scratch Paper, because they’re fun! It is summer, after all!

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Make sure you follow us here on the blog, and on Facebook and Periscope all summer long where we’ll be sharing videos of different products and activities in action. Head over to Lakeshore Learning on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or their website for ideas on ways to engage your children in education and make learning fun!

I am a blog ambassador for Lakeshore and am compensated for my work. I received product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.